Inland NW Oil Train Terminal Rally & Hearing

Tesoro Savage Hearing Train

On Thursday, January 14, 2016, please join Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allied groups carpooling from Moscow and Sandpoint, Idaho, and Pullman, Washington, to participate in the 4:30 pm regional community rally against the Tesoro-Savage Vancouver Energy Project, an oil train terminal proposed for the Port of Vancouver, Washington. At the same location – Centerplace Regional Event Center at 2426 North Discovery Place in Spokane Valley, Washington – the Washington state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) is hosting a public hearing on the project’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), from 5 to 11 pm or until the last testifier, hopefully late at night after many opposing speakers [1, 2].

Big Oil plans to build the largest crude-by-rail terminal in North America, potentially transferring an estimated 360,000 barrels per day of explosive Bakken shale oil and volatile Alberta diluted bitumen (tar sands) to tank farms across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, and to huge, ocean-going oil tankers shipping it to West Coast refineries and the world market [3]. Inevitable, resulting oil spills into river, lake, or sea waters along rail and ocean routes, especially releases of thick tar sands oil that sinks to the bottom of waterways, would disastrously affect local and regional environments, communities, and economies.

While moving enormous volumes of oil that ultimately impact our shared global climate, the Tesoro-Savage facility would also increase the risk of fiery oil train accidents in countless communities along Northwest rail lines, from the Hi-Line around U.S. Highway 2 in Montana, to U.S. Highway 95 corridor towns from Bonners Ferry to Rathdrum in northern Idaho, to the dangerously elevated bridge and track funnels through the Sandpoint, Idaho area and downtown Spokane, Washington, and down the Columbia River Gorge between eastern Oregon and Washington to Vancouver [4, 5]. The huge oil export terminal would bring four more 100-car trains hauling flammable cargo through climate-change-drying forests, increasingly dense cities, and ever more precious water bodies every day.  Public officials and emergency responders across the Northwest have raised concerns about the severe threats of train derailments, explosions, and pollution, as such incidents continually proliferate [6-8].

Northwesterners have successfully delayed, re-routed, and/or stopped similar fossil fuel infrastructure plans over the last five years, most notably tar sands mining and refining megaloads, coal export terminals, and just this week, a Grays Harbor oil terminal [9]. Faced with a flood of proposed coal, oil, and liquefied natural gas terminals in the Pacific Northwest, hundreds of concerned citizens like you have attended hearings to tell decision-makers no.  Altogether, people power has delayed nine fossil fuel terminals and stopped nine others in Oregon and Washington.

In Spokane Valley on January 14, your help is essential to protecting the safety, health, and environment of the Idaho panhandle and inland Northwest, by halting this oil terminal and its additional trains crossing the region [10]. Although jumping through government/industry-imposed hearing hoops held up to placate the public is not radical climate activism – wherein citizens, not their oppressors, define the terms of engagement – we encourage you to speak out and show the advising Washington EFSEC and decision-maker Governor Jay Inslee that the dirty and dangerous Tesoro-Savage proposal is all risk and no reward for our communities.  Hundreds of terminal opponents are already making history at these three important public meetings [11].  Native nations, civic groups, environmental organizations, firefighters, health and emergency professionals, and other individuals will similarly attend the Spokane Valley hearing.

Review the following web links for further information and comments about the Tesoro-Savage oil terminal and its DEIS and hearings, put the Spokane Valley event on your calendar, share this WIRT announcement via email and facebook with interested friends and family, and do not miss this exciting opportunity to engage in the DEIS hearing [12-14]. A large coalition of Northwest groups has compiled specific, applicable suggestions of talking points, arguments, and actions to assist your oral testimony and written letter, including a Tesoro-Savage project overview, comment cheat sheet, and DEIS and safety fact sheets [15].  But we also welcome your presence at the rally and hearing, to boost the visible numbers of terminal opponents supporting speakers, as well as your testimony stating general objections to the proposed port project.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Idaho Sierra Club, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, WIRT, and other organizations have been working to recruit participants and carpool arrangements that require your advance RSVP, in preparation for the 4:30 pm rally and 5 pm hearing on Thursday, January 14, in Spokane Valley. Please contact these organizers with any questions or suggestions.

Moscow, Idaho: For a spot in the ten-passenger Sierra Club van or overflow carpools, contact Casey Mattoon at or 208-384-1023, or Al Poplawsky at or 208-669-1065. Meet at 2:15 pm in front of the PetCo store, at the west end of the Palouse Mall, 1850 West Pullman Road in Moscow.  Vehicles will depart at 2:30 pm sharp.

Pullman, Washington: Contact Rob Briggs of the Palouse Region Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby at, for carpool information.

Sandpoint, Idaho: Contact WIRT at or 208-301-8039, and converge for carpools or a ride in a large-capacity vehicle, at 2:30 pm at the intersection corner of the Safeway parking lot at 702 North Fifth Avenue in Sandpoint.

During the public comment period on this largest oil train terminal in the U.S., from November 24, 2015, until 11:59 pm on January 22, 2016, please also read the DEIS and send your mailed or online comments to the State of Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) at P.O. Box 43172, Olympia, WA 98504, or at [1].  When and if all of these methods to redress American grievances with fossil fuel-driven climate change prove ineffective, relocated WIRT activists, residing in the Idaho frontline bottleneck of Powder River Basin coal, Bakken shale oil, and Alberta tar sands train transportation, invite you to physically demonstrate to the rail and fossil fuel industries our collective rejection of every dirty energy train in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.  Hearty thanks for your work on this issue!

[1] Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Project, Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council

[2] Tesoro Oil-by-Rail Project Report Lists Earthquake, Derailment Threats, November 24, 2015 Portland Business Journal

[3] Proposed Tesoro/Savage Crude Oil Facility (map), Jimmy Tee on facebook (original author unknown)

[4] Largest Oil Terminal in U.S. Would Impact Sandpoint, Susan Drumheller in December 23, 2015 Sandpoint Reader

[5] Critics Say Oil Trains Report Underestimates Risk, December 18, 2015 Spokesman-Review

[6] Why Are So Many Oil Trains Crashing? Track Problems May Be to Blame, October 7, 2015 Los Angeles Times

[7] Railroads Beat Back New Safety Rules after Derailments, December 5, 2015 Associated Press

[8] Truck Hits Train, Tankers Catch Fire near St. Johns Bridge, December 13, 2015 KOIN 6

[9] One of Three Proposed Grays Harbor Crude Oil Storage and Transfer Facilities has Dropped Its Plans! January 7, 2015 Wild Idaho Rising Tide facebook post

[10] Letter: Add Voice to Rejection of Terminal, Don Steinke in December 30, 2015 Columbian

[11] The First of Three EFSEC Hearings on the Tesoro-Savage Crude Oil Storage and Transfer Facility… January 7, 2015 Wild Idaho Rising Tide facebook post

[12] It’s Go Time! Vancouver Oil Terminal Hearing Announced! Columbia Riverkeeper

[13] Stop Big Oil Today! Columbia Riverkeeper

[14] Tesoro-Savage Oil Terminal Public Hearings: Thursday, January 14, 2016, Columbia Riverkeeper

[15] Rally and Public Hearing about Proposed Oil-By-Rail Terminal in Vancouver, Columbia Riverkeeper

2 thoughts on “Inland NW Oil Train Terminal Rally & Hearing

  1. Pingback: WIRT Newsletter: WIRT Meetings & Radio Show Time Change | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

  2. Pingback: WIRT Comments on Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

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